Tony Award-winning American artist and designer Anthony “Tony” Michael Duquette (due-kett) (June 11, 1914 – September 9, 1999). (Photo: tonyduquette.com)
Duquette was born in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in a musically talented artistic family, which included an uncle who was partners with London designer William Morris.
He studied theatre at Yale and art on a scholarship at Chouinard Art Institute in Downtown Los Angeles, CA. After graduating from Chouinard, he began working at Bullocks Department Store in promotional display and advertisment. His unique, fanciful spaces earned him apparent favor with long time client Elizabeth Arden for whom Duquette designed both homes and business salons. He also began to free-lance for the time’s top designers. His father drove Duquette, who worked as a store designer after graduation, to a meeting with Hollywood great William Haines. (LINK TO HAINES BLOG) Other designers in his name filled portfolio included James Pendleton, Dorris Duke and Adrian.
Duquette was discovered in 1941 by designer and socialite Elsie de Wolfe at a dinner hosted by the well-known art dealer cum interior designer James Pendleton for which Duquette had designed the dinner table’s centerpiece.
It was their first conversation at this now infamous dinner, that thelong-timee patronage of de Wolfe and her husband Sir Charles Mendl began between Duquette and Elsie de Wolfe, during which de Wolfe commissioned a secretary. It was through this patronage and her lengthy and a-list of social contacts by which Tony Duquette became firmly established among the top designers in Los Angeles.
His art was famed worldwide.
In 1951 Duquette became the first American to have a one-man show at the Pavilion de Marsan of the Louvre Museum, Paris. During this year in Europe, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor commissioned Duquette. He was then honored with a one-man exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art upon his triumphant return to Los Angeles.
Duquette’s talent would seemingly not be contained to canvas and stone. He’s noted for his interior designs for the likes of Doris Duke, Norton Simon, and J. Paul Getty. There were exotic locals like a castle in Ireland for multi-project client Elizabeth Arden and a penthouse in the Hawaiian Islands.
His residential designs style mirrored his art. His designs consistently displayed an eclectic, quixotic combination of material and styles in both his professional projects as well as his own home designs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pictured here is his 60’s Dining Room at the Ducommun Bel Air Residence. Here we can see his famous Biomorphic Gold Leaf Console and Mirror on the back wall, in front of the window he placed one of his own designs a 3D costume pieces for the SF Ballet titled “Jest of Cards”, and a custom Duquette tiger stripe shag carpeting under a glass top bronze table surrounded by suede upholstered gilt metal chairs. (Photo: tonyduquette.com)
He also stayed true to his commercial beginnings designing interiors for commercial and public spaces like the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sheraton Universal Hotel, Arden Salons and sculptures and tapestries for the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago as well as the Los Angeles Music Center including the Founders Room and Proscenium’s Curtain at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Wallace Neff (January 28, 1895 – June 8, 1982) was an architect based in Southern California and was largely responsible for developing the region's distinct architectural style referred to as "California" style. Neff was a student of architect Ralph Adams Cram and drew heavily from the architectural styles of both Spain and the Mediterranean as a whole, gaining extensive recognition from the number of celebrity commissions, notably Pickfair, the mansion belonging originally to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. His interest in architecture saw him studying under the revered Ralph Adams Cram in Massachusetts.
Eventually Neff returned to California and took up residence in Altadena. Where he became an architectural pioneer. As Neff's style became more popular and demanded by the elite, the rich, and the famous, he moved to the exclusive Pasadena suburb of San Marino. His clients list among the powerful and elite of the mid-20th Century the Singer Mansion, King Gillette Ranch, the Gates Residence. Libby Ranch, and the Pickfair Estate. Other fine mansions line the streets of Chapman Woods, Hancock Park, San Marino, Glendora, Beverly Hills, San Pascual Avenue, California Street and others in lower East Pasadena.
While he designed for the powerful, he also designed homes and cabins that took up the challenge of fusing natural shapes and useable straight lines. It is believed that Neff is the originator of the Concrete Balloon Forming method of construction.
In 2001, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston supposedly paid $13.5 million for a Neff house owned at different times by actor Fredric March and the philanthropist and USC trustee Wallis Annenberg. In 1998, actress Diane Keaton, an avid fan of Neff's work, purchased a low-slung Neff house in Beverly Hills – featured in Architectural Digest, July 1999 – with the front lawn covered in lavender, for $7.5 million. This home was later purchased by Madonna and Guy Ritchie and was still in their possession as of 2007.
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TOUR WALLACE NEFF DESIGNED "KING GILLETTE RANCH"
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“TASTE IS A MATTER OF OPINION, AND IS CONSTANTLY SEEKING TO DEFINE ITSELF”
One of my favorite showrooms is Rose Tarlow Melrose House located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. I love her antiques and antique reproductions. Her furniture, textiles, and lighting transcend time.
R. Tarlow Antiques opened on the secluded and sun-dappled Melrose Place in Los Angeles in 1976. For those lucky enough to find it, the shop was a sanctuary of impeccable antiques and eclectic pieces chosen from the most exclusive sources. Each item had a charm and a textured story that seemed to flow from the proprietor herself.
Rose traveled the world to find the most exquisite antiques for her shop and her private clients, striving to find one piece in each shipment that would give character to the whole collection —one piece with such singular style that it could inspire a room. When she began designing her own furniture a few years later, she sought to create a collection where every piece was that special piece.
For over thirty years, Rose Tarlow Melrose House has stayed true to this vision to create timeless designs that possess a twist and character to make each chair, each table, each textile, each accessory - extraordinary. We embrace the integrity of generations of craftsmen and artisans and recognize the character that age and natural imperfections can bring. We take an idea and play with it, change the proportion, make it comfortable, add a feature that only those who truly know can see. We celebrate the enigmatic beauty of the unexpected - for us the magic is in the details that give each piece its own personality and taken as a whole, forms the heart of everything we create.
Charles William "Billy" Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973), known professionally as William Haines, was an American film actor and interior designer.
Haines was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout and signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1922. His career gained momentum when he was loaned out to Columbia Pictures, now Sony where he received favorable reviews for his role in The Midnight Express. Haines returned to MGM and was cast in the 1926 film Brown of Harvard. The role solidified his screen persona as a wisecracking, arrogant leading man. By the end of the 1920s, Haines had appeared in a string of successful films and was a popular box office draw.
His film career was cut short by the 1930s due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality. Haines quit acting in 1935 and started a successful interior design business with his life partner Jimmie Shields, and was supported by friends in Hollywood. Haines died of lung cancer in December 1973 at the age of 73.
“I WOULD RATHER HAVE TASTE THAN MONEY OR LOVE”
Haines and Shields began a successful dual career as interior designers and antique dealers. Among their early clients were friends and Hollywood great's such as Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard, Marion Davies and George Cukor.
Their lives were disrupted in June 1936 when approximately 100 members of a white supremacist group dragged the two men from their El Porto, Manhattan Beach home and beat them, because a neighbor had accused the two of propositioning his son. The incident was widely reported at the time, but Manhattan Beach police never brought charges against the couple's attackers. The child molestation accusations against Haines and Shields were unfounded and the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.